Smoking Christmas brisket (15lb)

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Original poster
Dec 15, 2016
Hey guys. I know I haven't introduced myself in rollcall, but I will once this brisket is done. Got myself a wsm 18.5 a few weeks back and so far I've smoked two racks of St. Louis ribs,jalapeño poppers, and an 8lb brisket, all of which came out better than expected. Our family Christmas is this weekend so I bought a 15lb choice brisket to smoke. Just fired up the smoker and the rub is on the meat. For the 8 pounder, I decided to go low and slow with no wrapping or injections and see how it turned out, and make adjustments from there. Smoked it for about 10 hours and it was like butter. Everyone enjoyed it. My thoughts for this one are generally the same, except I plan to wrap in foil at 5-6 hours, keeping the temp at 225-250 the entire time. Should go on about 10:30 and finish around 2:00am, at which point I'll keep it tightly wrapped and put it in the fridge until Saturday's meal. I'm the first to admit that I'm new at this (I'm sure old timers are shaking their heads at this thread), but I'm trying not to go too fancy with the methods and screw everything up. Any tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I don't understand why you are wrapping it at 5 or 6 hours, I doubt the IT will be close to the 160's & your not going to have much bark.

If your last one turned out so well without wrapping, why wrap this one?  Especially since this one is a full packer. They do much better without foiling than a flat. I'm assuming the 8 lb. one was just a flat. At 225-250 a 15 lb. brisket will take 15-20 hours to cook. You might as well put in in the oven if your going to foil it after 5 or 6 hours. So what I'm saying is, 2/3 to 3/4 of your cook will be in foil. Unless I'm not reading your post right.

I had read that for briskets this size a lot of people tend to wrap them around 6 hours. I'm more than happy to keep it unwrapped for most of the cook. Is there a specific internal temp or hour mark I should wrap?
As Al said, your looking at 15 to 20 hours in that temp range. Typically the wrap is done when you hit the "stall". This can happen in the 150 to 165 internal temp range. Basically you will hit a point in which the IT doesn't really change. This stall can last from a short time to up to 2 hrs. It is at this time the decision to wrap is made(crutch) Wrapping shortens your cook time but will also affect your bark. This is a personal preference thing. I've done both. Time is what usually effects whether I crutch or not.

5 to 6 hours into the cook is definitely to early to wrap at those temperatures. Hardly enough time for the smoke to do its thing.

That being said, there is really nothing wrong with what your doing. As long as you hit the right IT it will come out fine. Difference is whether it comes out like roast beef or smoked brisket.

Good luck and enjoy. Firm believer that anything low and slow is worth the effort.
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This is all very helpful. We're approaching hour 10 and I have get to take the top off. 28"" check the bark and internal temp shortly and wrap and put in oven when ready. What temp should it finish at...250?
This is all very helpful. We're approaching hour 10 and I have get to take the top off. 28"" check the bark and internal temp shortly and wrap and put in oven when ready. What temp should it finish at...250?

Wait you're going to put it in the oven to finish? I'm a purist so even after I wrap anything, even in foil, I continue to heat with wood until I'm done. But that's just because I like doing things the hard way. lol I would suggest cranking her up to 275 and finishing strong. I cook at 275 the whole time so you're more than good. Your brisket will still be super tender and if anything a little juicier than If you maintained 225-250.
I took your advice and kept the oven out of it. Wrapped with foil at hour 11 or 12. When I came back to check an hour or so later, internal temp was 210, so I immediately took it off to rest. Crossing my fingers it isn't over cooked and dry, but the probe slides in like butter all over. Send good vibes my way. Reheating on Saturday for the family. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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